Microsoft released a new update for its web browser, Edge 119, through its Stable Channel (one of Microsoft’s release channels for new versions of Edge) on November 3.
This update introduced many new features, including SplitScreen and an improved Sidebar app. Microsoft has also snuck in an interesting quirk into the settings of the sidebar: the toggle for turning Edge's sidebar on and off has seemingly disappeared. This has caused alarm for some users as some think this means that you can’t disable (or enable it) in some cases.
Before this update, there was an "Always Show Sidebar" setting that allowed you to enable or disable the sidebar in Edge which would be found by entering edge://settings/sidebar into Edge’s address bar. Version Edge 119 moves this toggle to Copilot’s settings. Windows Copilot is Microsoft’s new AI-fuelled assistant that the company is positioning to function all throughout Windows and many Microsoft products, including Edge.
There does appear to still be a way to be able to turn the sidebar on and off by turning on the Show Copilot option. You can keep the sidebar on and choose to turn off Copilot, which should remove the Copilot icon, but doing that will hide the "Auto-hide Sidebar" option. You will not be able to toggle the sidebar as that specific setting will no longer be accessible.
Microsoft put out the following description about this sidebar toggle change, according to NeoWin:
“Always show sidebar:
This setting is not available when Copilot in Edge is off”
This could be confusing to some users, especially if they don’t want to use Copilot at the moment. You can still disable Copilot, but it seems like it disables even the ability to enable and disable the sidebar, which many users (including those who aren’t sold on Copilot yet) like using. NeoWin goes as far as to posit that moving this setting to the Copilot settings feels like Microsoft is trying to push users towards using it to grow engagement.
Regardless of where you stand on Copilot, there is still a way to turn the sidebar on or off (although, a roundabout one at that). To do this, go to:
Settings > Sidebar > Copilot > Always Show Sidebar
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Kristina is a UK-based Computing Writer, and is interested in all things computing, software, tech, mathematics and science. Previously, she has written articles about popular culture, economics, and miscellaneous other topics.
She has a personal interest in the history of mathematics, science, and technology; in particular, she closely follows AI and philosophically-motivated discussions.